In this study we examined the ethical aspects of the use of the Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to track people with dementia. The findings are based on qualitative data gathered from focus groups of family and professional caregivers. The most important theme was the need to balance patients need for safety with the need to preserve their autonomy and privacy. The main potential benefit of the use of GPS was related to the peace of mind of the caregivers themselves. The findings also suggest that caregivers views change according to the locus of responsibility of the caregivers for the safety of people with dementia. The caregivers give preference to patients safety more than autonomy when they are responsible for the patients. When the patients are under the responsibility of other caregivers, they give preference to patients autonomy more than their safety. Overall, the variety and the depth of the views of different stakeholders toward the use of electronic tracking for people with dementia presented in this article provide a meaningful contribution to the ethical debate on this topic.
- Alzheimers disease
- Older people